The Visible and the Invisible
Note from the editor: All I really mean by drugs is some consumable that offers the user an altered and temporary state of consciousness. Something that can be overdosed on. Something that can master-slave you. You know what drugs are.
Are we to use altered experiences to re-evaluate our knowledge base and what we know?
I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. This is a philosophical claim. We are living in a prophetical silence now, a time where the supernatural appears to be a belief and not a reality. And this has happened before—when we ask where God is, can’t we see the unseen ministers over what is seen to make seeds into trees and for people to die without fear? We are not the first to desire some break from a prophetical silence like this.
This is why we have the apocalyptic books that were written for the assurance that we are in time and that God has entered time in the past, into our bodies personally and through the body of Jesus for the whole, the Jesus who intervened for us and was forced to feel the knowledge of invisible realities in a visible world, which is how it is for us visible creatures. Jesus, too, felt the ache of the visible world, a world built for bodies.
If you see the value in drugs, then you should also be able to see the utility in memory which, unlike drugs, is a necessary part of how we interact with time and what we experience. Unlike drugs, memory is not a manufactured intervention which breaks how we naturally relate to the external world. The process of remembering is a “real hallucination” and is the gateway into the unseen. St. John’s hallucination in Revelation is reliable, because its basis was the memory of God’s promises of the end to a hope we cannot see.
I’d argue that drugs are a counterfeit memory and for those who don’t want to remember, but to forget the aches of the visible world. Those drawn to drugs, I’d suspect, are also drawn to leaving the natural processes of the world that either fill us with wonder at what is unseen—or dread that there might be something unseen weighing over us. Maybe those drawn to drugs are those who don’t accept that the invisible is there, is perceivable, or is even connected at all to this world built for bodies. Maybe drugs are for those who are more willing to confuse perception with reality than they are willing to accept that our perception of one reality is narrow. Maybe drugs are for those who do not see the utility in hallucinations, but rather see hallucinations as the end in themselves: the escape from the Great Dread of Being a Body. Maybe drugs are for those who deny the visible as a gateway (the visible is transformed into the invisible through memory) to truth.
But if you are using drugs honestly, seeking the utility in hallucinations (either real or illusory visions of the invisible world, whether it be through some altered or strange experience that breaks with the normal flow of being), know that the utility of drugs pales is really a false copy of that which memory is designed for: memory is the break of all prophetical silence.
And this is something for which we need and ache. We need a break of this prophetical silence—and this is why we remember. We remember, so that the silence can be broken. When we remember the promises of God, the silence is broken and we remember through hallucinations of past promises. The past is the invisible realm we cannot deny, the place where promises are kept hidden and only perceivable through memory.
This is why I think we need more literature like Revelation so that we can recalibrate our perceptions. Revelation was a comfort to the early church which was full of Christians wondering what order there was to their persecution. They looked for some sign of the divine order which makes all things intelligible, that order which directs growth, progress, and change. And so John wrote the revelation of this secret order for their hope. And when we read Revelation, it seems like a mere hallucination of John’s.
Maybe that is why some people take drugs: they are taking them with the intention of getting to some end. We are to look at all resources before us, whether they are our faculties or some external interventions, as means to the end of seeing the visible rightly and discerning the invisible. The impulse to take drugs is entirely human, if it is not merely the desire to get “messed up”. If the desire to get “messed up” is the purpose of taking drugs, then the means is seen as the end. The mechanic of a resource is not to be the end in itself, but rather what the mechanic might provide you once it has gone. This is how to rightly use the faculties and natural tools before us.
This is the fundamental problem in people taking drugs to achieve that perception of some invisible order of the visible, though: when it is just a means to reconstruct the visible life. The altered experiences or hallucinations of drugs are acknowledged illusions and false perceptions that exist only within the mind. The utility of drugs is only really there if you are willing to confuse your perception with reality. Drugs provide broken perception, unnatural interventions, and even when they are (rarely) used with intention they are ultimately counterfeit copies of the natural faculty of memory.
Taking drugs is not a natural use of what is before us: it destroys the natural order which the user claims they are trying to discern. And if a user does not claim to desire some vision of order, then they are making drugs the end. That is how drugs are “misused”. My point is that even when drugs are rightly used, their pay-out is false and misleading. The only real utility of drugs, I believe, is destruction.